Juno Beach, FL. – It takes a village, and in this case a committed conservation partner 4ocean, to support one of the largest sea turtle releases to-date for Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC). On Friday, October 18, LMC released 242 hatchlings and post-hatchlings who were ‘blown in’ after Hurricane Dorian coasted Florida, including two juvenile turtles in partnership with The Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC).
Due to erratic wave and wind patterns from Hurricane Dorian, hundreds of local hatchlings were left stranded and disoriented on beaches managed by the Center another problem created by Dorian was blowing all of the sargasum seaweed out to sea – seaweed off shore is home and habitat to baby sea turtles. For many weeks, LMC sought the support of local fishermen, helicopter pilots, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to detect nearby sargassum for hatchlings to strengthen their chances of survival. Findings show only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings make it to adulthood – a 20 – 30 year journey. Sea turtles spend the first one to two years of life floating in the Sargasso Sea. A lack of seaweed used as floating mats can increasingly hurt their chances of survival.
The week of October 18, LMC was notified of a large patch of sargassum drifting North toward West Palm Beach. Staff members proactively contacted 4ocean to transport the hatchlings to the site. 4ocean also offered its services to remove plastic debris from the floating sargassum prior to release, including four partially deflated balloons, a floating toy truck, a two by three feet plastic sheet, and other forms of plastic waste.
“Sea turtle research and conservation are built into our DNA,” said 4ocean co-founder Alex Schulze. “Our sea turtle and leatherback bracelets support critical research that advances rescue and release efforts that coincide with LMC’s mission.”
4ocean was the recipient of the Blue Business Award on Friday, October 25 at LMC’s Eleventh Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon as voted by an independent panel of judges. The company has removed over seven million pounds of trash in just two and a half years. 4ocean is building the first economy for ocean plastic while creating a cleaner, more sustainable future for the ocean by creating jobs, utilizing the latest technology and raising awareness about the impact of trash in the ocean and on marine life. Together LMC and 4ocean, both based in Palm Beach County, Florida share like-minded values to protect our most important natural assets.
The two juvenile loggerhead sea turtles, Boomerang and Friend, were patients from GSTC located on Jekyll Island, Georgia. Both Boomerang and Friend arrived to the Center in the summer of 2018 as straggler hatchlings. Upon arrival, Boomerang weighed only 9 grams, equivalent to the weight of a pair of dice, but left weighing more than a soccer ball. Over time, Boomerang became an educational ambassador and was one of GSTC’s most symbolically adoptable patients. The two made their debut back in the wild alongside LMC’s released sea turtle hatchling patients.
Properly send-off LMC hatchlings! Visit LMC’s website and Name a Hatchling to directly benefit the continued care and treatment of sick and injured sea turtle patients.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center: Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) is a nonprofit sea turtle research, rehabilitation and educational institution that promotes conservation of ocean ecosystems with a focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. The Center features an on-site hospital, research laboratory, educational exhibits and aquariums, and also operates the Juno Beach Pier, which hosts world-class angling and sightseeing. Situated on one of the world’s most important sea turtle nesting beaches, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is open daily and hosts over 350,000 guests free-of-charge each year. The Center’s conservation team works with 90 local and international organizations across six continents to form partnerships and share conservation initiatives and best practices that are core to its mission of ocean conservation. The Center is expanding and has launched its Waves of Progress capital expansion campaign, designed to accelerate and amplify LMC’s conservation and education impact. When complete, the facility will offer one of the world’s most advanced and unique experiences for guests and scientific partners. For more information, visit www.marinelife.org or call (561) 627-8280.